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Family: Quality Time is the Answer to Teen Pregnancy and Gang Violence

Family: Quality Time is the Answer to Teen Pregnancy and Gang Violence

While the nation desperately searches for a long-term solution to teen pregnancy, gangs, drug addiction and violence, self-serving politicians propagate a debate designed to elevate their profiles, raise money and garner votes.

Unfortunately, these kinds of the issue tend to polarize our society and attract parasites who prey on the pain and suffering of others. Add a mainstream media that lives off of fanning the fire’s flames, and solutions, much less common ground to begin the serious discussion, are hard to come by.

It’s time to face facts. Short-term remedies and band-aid legislation are useless. Public chest beating and flag waving make a wonderful 30-second sound byte, but do nothing toward finding a solution.

Unfortunately, the American Dream has evolved. Tight budgets, added workload, and erratic work schedules make it a real challenge for today’s parents to find, much less spend quality time with their children. The once simple act of an afternoon movie can be impossible when pursuing a career, and taking a three-day weekend can be financial suicide for a fiscally challenged inner-city single mother.

As a result, today’s youngsters spend an increasing number of unsupervised hours in front of the television, where society’s ills are romantically portrayed. Those few programs that are wholesome in nature get prime-time play with the same regularity NASA is putting astronauts on the moon.

Quality time has grown to mean a rented video, sporadically watched between the laundry, homework, dinner, and dishes.

Maybe it’s time families rediscover what was once the backbone of our national pastimes. More than 32 percent of adult Americans claim the fondest memories they have of time spent with their father came during outdoor activities, particularly fishing. It was the single highest rated activity in the survey.

Talk about having a long-term impact! The reasons are pretty simple. There are no cell phones to divide dad’s attention. Television’s mindless drone is left far behind, radio’s incessant chatter is absent, and the task of finishing off the last alien on a video game has to wait. It’s uncluttered time, together, and never measured by how much the fish cooperate. They call it fishing, not catching.

Time like this can only help a parent understand the challenges their youngster faces on a daily basis, even open up a line of communication that may help avoid future tragedy.

There are countless other outdoor pursuits too. Mountain bike, hike, camp, bird watch, backpack, ghost town, rock collect, even take digital photos together. Then when you get home, have your son or daughter show you how to open the images up on the computer. They’ll be sharing part of their knowledge, and it’s about then you’ll notice the lack of a TV’s din will be deafening.

No, it’s not a quick fix, and it won’t grab headlines or sell newspapers. All it will do is provide an excuse to spend the day with your child. You may not catch the big one, but the memories you come home with are always a keeper.

*Annually many states hold a free fishing day, and host clinics where you can borrow a rod and reel and learn more
about the sport. In addition, in most states, youths do not need a license and a variety of urban lakes are being managed by game and fish departments across the nation, making a nearby fishing hole just down the street for a lot more people than you might think.